Guides

How To Find The Secret Crystal Clear Rock Pools At Victoria’s Isolated Bushrangers Bay

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Named for two escaped convicts, this windswept and moody beach hosts a set of deep, translucent rock pools that are only a short hike through untouched bushland.

I’ll admit it. I’m an Instagram whore.

Whenever I travel, I base almost my entire itinerary around the best photos for the ‘Gram. So when we were all locked down in Melbourne last year, and my potential Insta fodder was limited to anything within a day’s drive from the city, I got to researching. Where are the most photographable locations in Victoria? And how likely was it that I could snap the perfect pic without a single person in the shot?

Isolated Bushrangers Bay, just near the tip of the Mornington Peninsula at Cape Schanck, ticked all the boxes.

 

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Honestly, it was one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen in my fair state, despite the vampiric sand flies descending upon my supple flesh as the only living animal within a 10km radius. But more on that later.

Most importantly, it hosts a stunning set of crystal clear (and cold, very cold) rock pools that were primed for a personal photoshoot of epic proportions. Personally, I would have preferred to wear a wetsuit – Victorian water temperatures are icy at the best of times – but it wouldn’t have made for quite as good a shot. So I braved the temperatures and waded in, my saltwater-friendly Tevas sandals strapped on and all. Hey, I wasn’t looking to step on something questionable, so far from the nearest hospital. I already did that once in Thailand. Thankfully I still have my left foot. But I digress.

Follow Boneo Rd until you get to the Bushrangers Bay parking area. Look for the Bushrangers Bay Walking Track sign, and follow the four-kilometre track over the hill and down to the bay. It takes about 30 mins, and it’s not too hard-going but I would recommend wearing good footwear for the short hike.

We arrived around 10 am to catch the last of the kangaroos feeding, and spotted some shy wallabies bounding across the rocky hills.

 

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Once you arrive on the beach, take a minute to absorb the wild, brooding cliffs and treacherous waters that await you at the veritable end of the world. Only wait a single minute though, because by then you’ll be covered in ravenous sandflies, intent at draining any zen (and blood) you’d accrued during your peaceful walk to the bay. I’d personally recommend a spacesuit, but if you’re short on one of those, try many, many doses of insect repellent and full-length clothing.

Continue along the beach with your now much-loved personal cloud of sand flies, towards the precarious-looking black rock outcrop at the opposite point of the bay. If you’re intent on exploring, keep your shoes on (the rocks are incredibly sharp) – and for goodness sakes, be extra careful of large waves that may sweep you off your feet and into the water. It was just up the coast that our short-serving Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared, never to be seen again.

Here you’ll spot the crystal clear rock pools –  but be very careful wading in, as they look like they’re about knee-deep until you discover they’re actually so clear that their depth is deceptive. I was able to swim comfortably in one of the more shallow pools, and could even wander into sections where I was submerged past waist-deep.

 

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As you head back to the car, you may spot more wildlife on the way – the surrounding bushland is quiet and untouched. Spend the afternoon winding your way back to Melbourne via Mornington mainstays like the wineries at Red Hill, or try the slightly warmer waters at the Peninsula Hot Springs.

If you’re keen on visiting this isolated bay, and its beautiful (but potentially dangerous) rock pools, make sure you have all the right gear, and never go alone. Heed any warnings, including the recommendation that you don’t enter the hazardous water due to large waves and strong rips. And remember: no one wants a repeat of the Harold Holt debacle. Enemy submarine or not.


(Lead image: Luke David Photography via Tourism VIC)